Phoenix Rising supports the Millions Missing global day of protest
Phoenix Rising is delighted to support the demands being made in the ME/CFS community’s first-ever global day of protest …
Discuss the article on the Forums.

A Little Poisoning Along the Road to ME/CFS

Discussion in 'Phoenix Rising Articles' started by Jody, Nov 27, 2014.

  1. Jody

    Jody Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,333
    Likes:
    1,001
    Canada
    Jody submitted a new blog post:

    A Little Poisoning Along the Road to ME/CFS

    Anyone else been poisoned along the way? Jody Smith tells part of her horror story ...

    [​IMG]

    Looking at my symptoms, many of which are far less these days and some are gone, it would be easy to figure that I'd just been dealing with some heavy-duty menopausal issues.

    The sleep abnormalities, the brain fog, digestive issues, astonishing weight gain, I was the right age ... I fit the menopause profile.

    But then I remember some of toxins I've been exposed to over the decades, and I realize that whether menopause had anything to do with my becoming so sick for so long, there was more to it than that.

    Until fairly recently, I thought of the pain, inflammation, swelling, and subsequent incapacitation that I would experience a few times every year as being separate from ME/CFS.

    The first time I had a serious, agonizing bout of roaring inflammation I called it tendinitis. After a few days of searing pain and functional uselessness in my right arm, I wished for amputation.

    Instead I got a prescription from my GP for Voltaren (diclofenac). I took this medication for a few days and the pain began to fade. Didn't disappear, but it became bearable. Couldn't actually use my arm.

    There was weakness and stiffness such that I had to lift my right hand with my left to take a cup out of my kitchen cupboard. I couldn't lift any of my small children with my right arm.

    I stayed on Voltaren for five months, and then later that year was on it for three more months after a second bout of inflammation.

    I did not make a connection at the time with the excruciating pain that had taken up residence in the pit of my stomach. My husband had been injured at work and there were some scary things going on in our lives at the time. I just chalked up how I felt to being anxious.

    But this pain never went away over the following 15 years or so. And I suspect that the leaky gut I've been healing may have originated from this scenario. I've made dietary changes, identified and eliminated foods I can't tolerate.

    Now I know that if I have inflammation, I can generally get relief from castor oil wraps, acupuncture or chiropractic. I take omega-3 oil to lessen my tendency to inflammation, and try to eat a diet that is low in omega-6 fatty acids. I try to respect my body's limitations and act with ergonomic responsibility. The less I strain it the less it hits me with inflammation.

    We had an oil furnace that we realized was emitting fumes into the house. My husband discovered that the combustion chamber was cracked. We quit using the furnace and started using the wood stove in the living room. Later added one to the family room because replacing the furnace was beyond our means at the time.

    Realized later that both wood stoves were installed incorrectly and were unsafe. It's a wonder neither of them burned our house down. They both also burned broken chairs, cardboard, painted wood from old furniture, and who knows what else, when we couldn't afford proper firewood.

    The crawl space of the house we lived in 25 years ago got flooded. We found out by accident one evening. As the water drained from the tub after one of my kids had their bath, we heard the water .... drop. It wasn't going through pipes away from the house to wherever the water goes.

    The pipes had been disconnected, maybe by an animal that had gotten into the crawl space. And when the water went down the drain, it fell onto the ground under the house.

    There was a pool about six inches by the time we discovered this. It explained the tendency to mold in this house which was so much more than anything I'd ever experienced before.

    The floor directly above this mess was soft and punky, and one day my mother's foot went through the floor. She was okay, just shocked. The floor which was a third of the length of our house, now obviously had to be replaced. But that is another story for another day. Or rather, one you really never want to hear.

    We also found out that our neighbours had been re-directing water from their yard into ours via a big plastic pipe, so their runoff would have been ending up ... under our house. We politely asked him to stop. He did.

    Our next house was in much better shape. But the cement basement would flood after very heavy rains. And then it would flood any time it rained. My husband Alan discovered that the storm sewer line was full of debris from a tree right above it. The rainwater couldn't be carried away, it just ... overflowed and soaked down the side of our basement walls and floor.

    Almost everything stored in our basement has had to be thrown out, but it all sat there for a number of years before any of us were healthy enough to get it done.

    He has found the source of the problem and we no longer have that kind of flooding. But the house had a strong inclination to mold, on the walls and in the basement for a long time.

    We had a waterbed which split open and poured water throughout our bedroom 20 years ago. We mopped things up as best we could. Let the carpet dry, we couldn't afford to replace it. Whatever bacteria was in that water permeated the particle board platform frame and the rug.

    We kept the platform and stuck two single mattresses on it, and slept that way for about five years. When we could afford to get a new mattress, we also got an unexpected bonus.

    I had been waking each morning with searing sore throat, aching sinuses, headache and earaches. After I'd get up and been awake for an hour or so, these discomforts would gradually decrease till they were -- not gone, but bearable.

    But the first morning after I slept on the new bed, I noticed that I wasn't in pain. My breathing wasn't hampered by stuffed sinuses. The change was that dramatic and that immediate.

    I can't say how much any of these things contributed to my becoming, and staying, sick with ME/CFS. I just know what my experience has been. And the timing of these environmental insults when compared with when my symptoms have eaxed and waned is all pretty convincing to me.

    Have you gotten poisoned along the way?



    Phoenix Rising is a registered 501 c.(3) non profit. We support ME/CFS and NEID patients through rigorous reporting, reliable information, effective advocacy and the provision of online services which empower patients and help them to cope with their isolation.

    There are many ways you can help Phoenix Rising to continue its work. If you feel able to offer your time and talent, we could really use some more authors, proof-readers, fundraisers, technicians etc. We’d also love to expand our Board of Directors. So, if you think you can help in any way then please contact Mark through the Forums.

    And don’t forget: you can always support our efforts at no cost to yourself as you shop online! To find out more, visit Phoenix Rising’s Donate page by clicking the button below.

    [​IMG]
    Continue reading the Original Blog Post
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2014
    melamine, Ren, zzz and 2 others like this.
  2. daisybell

    daisybell Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,601
    Likes:
    7,362
    New Zealand
    Thanks Jody.
    I was being poisoned for a while by waste products from methamphetamine production being poured down the outside drains next to my house. Of course I didn't know that was happening until the police turned up and the drains were decontaminated. Three or four days later I woke up feeling completely different....
    I'll never know how much of a part that incident played in my illness.
     
  3. Kina

    Kina

    Messages:
    10,132
    Likes:
    17,219
    Sofa, UK
    The house in which I lived when I first got sick had an extremely damp basement. I was talking to the family that rented it before we bought it and he said that they moved out because they felt the house was 'making them sick'. I have no idea if it was a contributing factor or not.
     
  4. Jody

    Jody Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,333
    Likes:
    1,001
    Canada
    Daisybell,

    That sounds awful.

    Something I forgot to mention in my article-- I lived for 6 yrs beside a very large farm. I have wondered how much we may have been affected by the chemicals used there and on the fields around us.
     
  5. Jody

    Jody Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,333
    Likes:
    1,001
    Canada
    Kina,

    It makes you wonder doesn't it.

    My mother was convinced that the house I live in is a sick house. I don't know if it has been a bigger factor than the house before this one. I'd have said the first house was worse, but that the problems that started there just continued to get worse after we moved here.
     
  6. Sing

    Sing Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,632
    Likes:
    1,337
    New England
    Jody, once again a very important subject. A lot of us being low income and low energy, live in places with low standards. Of course the whole world is increasingly polluted and the stuff just circulates.

    But, coming down from that level of generalization, the places I have rented are old and or not in good repair to begin with. Then the landlord often decides to renovate some parts while I am living there paying full rent. Never has lead paint removal been done right. Have I ever lived anywhere without lead paint? Not sure. Anyway there has been lead dust around definitely.

    This current place had an old propane heater with a hole in it so that it wasn't all getting vented to the outside but coming in. I h ad headaches and felt sick and depressed all the first winter, asking maintenance about this heater. But they said there couldn't possibly be a problem with it. The next fall I insisted on having it checked when all the heating units were being checked and serviced. When it was, the hole was found and they replaced it immediately.

    The other thing which happened in this current place is that the floor was polyurethaned right before I moved in. I was told it was finished but it was still greasy and emiting fumes. The stuff got on my best rugs, my socks, the shower floor etc. This made me feel sad and helpless. It was far beyond what I could do to move here and I am not sure I will have the energy or ability to move anywhere else. But about the floors, I learned afterwards that polyurethane takes two weeks to dry. I would say a month before the fumes die down.

    As for mold, I am very alert about that, keep the bathroom dry and check under the kitchen sink regularly. You can't trust water not to leak. There is currently a small leak under the kitchen sink but I am managing it instead of having workmen come in and tear everything apart. There was an ice jam over my closet on the roof last winter and the water poured down. It finally dried out and I took my clothes back from where I had piled them around my one room and put them back in my one closet. Then when they said they wanted to put a new roof on and redo the closet, I implored them not to, as the leaking had stopped. It will be okay as long as no ice jams build up again this winter, which now they are going to keep after. I dread workmen all over this place making a mess and noise and taking days and weeks often on jobs. And I am not going to leave everything I own unprotected, so I feel I have to stay.
     
  7. Jody

    Jody Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,333
    Likes:
    1,001
    Canada
    Sing,

    I can so relate to so much of what you said. I also have a leaky pipe under my kitchen sink right now, which we can't replace until we can afford a lot of work under there.
     
  8. Sing

    Sing Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,632
    Likes:
    1,337
    New England
    Oh, it is great not to be alone!
     
    Jody likes this.
  9. Nico

    Nico

    Messages:
    70
    Likes:
    96
    I went from mild to moderate me/cfs (I didn't know I was sick, actually) to severe after an acute and week -long insecticide poisoning.

    Having MCS, I know when things are not "pure". I have more pain these days, which may be because I'm sleeping on the sofa for the past month. It's not overtly off-gassing at all, but something is different. But, there is no way I am able to determine this for sure. (It could just be that I have more pain because something else. Maybe needing to stand more on and off.)
     
  10. boohealth

    boohealth Senior Member

    Messages:
    233
    Likes:
    255
    south
    Good piece. Depressing, too.
     
    Jody likes this.
  11. boohealth

    boohealth Senior Member

    Messages:
    233
    Likes:
    255
    south
    I've been thinking more about this story and wonder how common it is. Houses are built badly and renters or owners are not educated in the simple maintenance issues (like storm drains, gutters etc). Pipes leak at the joints--inevitably. People don't think about it until there's an obvious problem. Most homeowners have an experience of leaking pipes leading to algae and mold contamination. Basements and crawlspaces are a dumb invention. I think they may have come from early root cellars, which had a purpose. Soil holds tons of moisture. And water takes the path of least resistance. Very few basements are not moldy--unless they are built well with solid thick concrete walls, wrapped properly in vapor barriers, AND are daylight basements--which essentially means they are first floors. UGH. I wonder how many waterbeds leak, too. Probably a lot.
     
    Sing likes this.
  12. Jody

    Jody Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,333
    Likes:
    1,001
    Canada
    Nico

    Always a drag when you can't determine what is causing the new or increased symptoms. We try different theories, change what we are doing because it MIGHT be this, or MIGHT be that ... and so often in the end we still don't know what started it.

    Though in the case of the insecticide poisoning, that one was probably pretty stark and clear.
     
    Nico likes this.
  13. Jody

    Jody Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,333
    Likes:
    1,001
    Canada
    boohealth,

    Yup, crawl spaces in the day of root cellars served a purpose. The one I had just invited animals under the house apparently and then they busted up plumbing and furnace pipes.

    Our waterbed was old, one that we bought when I was pregnant with our first child so I could sleep better. And I did.:) But it would spring the occasional leak over the years and I suspect that we didn't catch them all. The ones that got us wet we caught:) but there were possibly some on the underside that meant we were laying on a mattress laying in water.

    You're supposed to add this stuff periodically to the water bed to eliminate bacteria -- I don't know how effective it was, or even if it was all that safe once it was leaking out of the bed. We couldn't afford to get this stuff, so any bacteria just staying in there proliferating till the final tidal wave that hit our whole bedroom and is still in our carpet.
     
  14. Nico

    Nico

    Messages:
    70
    Likes:
    96
    Yes. Thanks Jody, for the reply. :)
     
    Jody likes this.
  15. caledonia

    caledonia

    Messages:
    4,204
    Likes:
    3,225
    Cincinnati, OH, USA
    Chronic low level carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning mimics the symptoms of ME/CFS. The treatment is hyperbaric oxygen to drive the CO back out of the bloodstream. The CO replaces the oxygen in the bloodstream and that's how it makes you sick. It has to be forced out under pressure, otherwise it can take years for it to come out naturally.

    One of the best easy things a person can do is to purchase a CO detector. CO is colorless and odorless, so the only way you know if you're being exposed (other than feeling mysteriously sick or actually dying) is to have an alarm. If that thing goes off - get out immediately! Everyone should have one of these along with a smoke alarm.
     
  16. Jody

    Jody Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,333
    Likes:
    1,001
    Canada
    Caledonia,

    Yes, I agree. We have a CO monitor in our house now.
     
    caledonia likes this.
  17. antares4141

    antares4141 Senior Member

    Messages:
    295
    Likes:
    361
    Truth or consequences, nm
    I suspect my ocupationanal exposusure to pesticides set my illness in motion. But my house was very moldy also and the mold drove my day to day symptoms. When I moved out got better moved back in got much worse. Finally moved out for good but never got near 100% and in fact continued to slowly decline over the years. Made a few bad moving choices but never as bad as the original house. I also had a long history of exposures to chemicals ocupationally and with hobies. Billions of people live in less than optimal conditions as far as mold goes without any apparent adverse effects. So I lean hevely on hypothesis mold related illness/chronic fatigue syndrome is much more complicated than simple mold exposure. Take for instance aspergillosis. It's a mold infection but not nessasarly caused by the mold but an underlying immune disorder that predisposes one to it. Aid's, or drugs given to transplant patients, chemo therapy, or TB, or chronic obstructive pulmonary diesease. All make one susceptible to aspergillosis. Could be something as simple as a sexually transmitted disease, or from a tick. Could be a combination of all or any one, or none of the above. That's the $64,000 question. That's why I rip on authorities specifically for there denial of obvious clues like our sensitivity to mold (thousands of families forced out of there homes no help or even recognition from authorities!) gi hallmark symptoms of CFS and a vital clue that it's not phychological. They either have to be totally incompetent or corrupt or some combination of the two. They being goverment officials politicians who ignore us and buerocrats in cdc responsible for public health. Should be thrown in jail for the rest of there lives. There should be a hevey tax & fine burden imposed on all Drs (especially those who ascribe to the psychological explanation as if it is fact but also those complicit) for belonging to such a corrupt institution and supporting it with the credibility they lend to it. You impose those types of risks and penalties on people responsible for public heath and they would have a totally different attitude. It would expose the truth that they are not acting strictly on principles and values and what the scientific methode infers regarding cfs. It's all about the money and a lack of empathy.
     
    boohealth and Jody like this.
  18. antares4141

    antares4141 Senior Member

    Messages:
    295
    Likes:
    361
    Truth or consequences, nm
    Get a co detector with digital readout. There cheap now and not only alert you but let you know how much your being exposed to. I suspect co poisoning is more complex than simply tying up your hemoglobin with co. In other words there are toxic compounds in combustion products that might harm you in other ways.
     
    Jody likes this.
  19. u&iraok

    u&iraok Senior Member

    Messages:
    427
    Likes:
    504
    U.S.
    Terrible experience, Jody, I'm sorry. Your comment about burning furniture, painted wood, etc. stood out to me because in my neighborhood someone is burning that in their furnace. Every night there's a chemical smell in the air so I can't open my window. Our next door neighbor was doing that until my husband told him about the toxins in the treated wood. We also have several people in the 'hood that burn the treated wood and plastic, wiring, etc. If we're outside when it happens we both get sick. It comes into the house and we're miserable. People don't realize how nasty and dangerous it is to burn toxic materials. The cumulative effect of all these people burning improperly is like a large factory spewing toxins into the air with no filter. The factor would be fined and maybe shut down for that.
     
  20. jerrymcfadyen

    jerrymcfadyen Senior Member

    Messages:
    122
    Likes:
    264
    East Bend, NC USA
    Thanks for sharing your story. It sounds much like my life story in a lot of ways.
    The difference is that I've spent most of my life using all kinds of pesticides. As a teenager working on a farm we used tons of chemicals and had no idea about the need to protect our selves. Then as an adult working in the Pest Control industry using many different pesticides very day.
    I almost forgot about riding our bikes around following the mosquito fogging trucks as kids.
     

See more popular forum discussions.

Share This Page